North Dakota Sunset: An Experience of the Holy

“Nature, in Dakota, can indeed be an experience of the holy.”
— Kathleen Norris, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography

Sunset, Theodore Roosevelt NP, North Unit

“All that sky and horizon around you, there almost always is some atmospheric event to keep track of.”
— Ivan Doig, English Creek

One of the rewards of practically living out of your car on the open road is that you get to experience sunrises and sunsets in a more direct way than from a house.  I had been enjoying them along the way, but the sunset over the grasslands in Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s North Unit was by far the most extravagant and beautiful.

I could see why Clay Jenkinson said, “If you live in North Dakota, you perforce have a relationship with the sky.”  (For the Love of North Dakota and Other Essays).  He is in good company:

“A person could stand and watch this changing land and sky forever.” — Kathleen Norris, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography

” . . . at evening I love to sit out in front of the hut and see hard, gray outlines gradually grow soft and purple as the flaming sunset by degrees softens and dies away.”
— Theodore Roosevelt

As I watched the entrancing sunset show, I thought that the skies were God’s watercolor paintings.  What artistry and glory:

“You don’t know what light feels or how its thinking goes.  You do know this is where it’s most at home.  On the plains where you were born, there are no mountains to turn it back, no forest for it to shoulder through.  A solitary tree marks its comings and goings like a pole sunk in the shore of the ocean to measure its tides.  Here, light seems like another form of water, as clear but thinner, and it cannot be contained,”
— Lorna Crozier, “First Cause: Light,” from Small Beneath the Sky

 

 

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